(Update) Rockstar worked '100 hour weeks' to create Red Dead Redemption 2


More revelations about the crunch culture of video game development

[Update: Kotaku has received this quote recently, attributable to Dan Houser: "There seems to be some confusion arising from my interview with Harold Goldberg. The point I was trying to make in the article was related to how the narrative and dialogue in the game was crafted, which was mostly what we talked about, not about the different processes of the wider team. After working on the game for seven years, the senior writing team, which consists of four people, Mike Unsworth, Rupert Humphries, Lazlow and myself, had, as we always do, three weeks of intense work when we wrapped everything up. Three weeks, not years. We have all worked together for at least 12 years now, and feel we need this to get everything finished. After so many years of getting things organized and ready on this project, we needed this to check and finalize everything."

"More importantly, we obviously don’t expect anyone else to work this way. Across the whole company, we have some senior people who work very hard purely because they’re passionate about a project, or their particular work, and we believe that passion shows in the games we release. But that additional effort is a choice, and we don’t ask or expect anyone to work anything like this. Lots of other senior people work in an entirely different way and are just as productive – I’m just not one of them! No one, senior or junior, is ever forced to work hard. I believe we go to great lengths to run a business that cares about its people, and to make the company a great place for them to work."]

Rockstar's interview with Vulture over their upcoming magnum opus Red Dead Redemption 2 is making a lot of headlines today. Many mind-blowing statistics have been disclosed in the conversation with Rockstar co-founder Dan Houser, including a file size of around 100GB, a story campaign of around 65 hours, and some 500,000 lines of dialogue. An epic effort indeed.

One statistic came out during the interview, however, that has raised a lot of eyebrows. This was the revelation that the team at Rockstar was faced with the "hardest" of all Rockstar projects to date, pushing them into "100-hour weeks". Although obviously stated with the intention of promoting the effort and drive of the talented men and women who have made Red Dead Redemption 2 a reality, it has raised major alarm bells among the community and critics as yet another example of the increasingly strenuous working decisions put upon developers in the gaming industry.

This soundbite comes at a time when several major publishers have previously been under fire for mismanagement leading to difficult, long and tiring working conditions. This obviously risks incredible strain on employees, in an industry where "crunching" in order to meet tight deadlines, publisher demands, budget costs, and fan expectations, is starting to be revealed as a worrying and accepted norm.

Red Dead Redemption 2 will have roughly 65 hours in game length [Vulture via Gamesindustry.biz]

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Chris Moyse
Chris MoyseSenior Editor   gamer profile

Chris has been playing video games since video games began... still terrible at them. Former Saturday Night Slam Master, rambles nostalgically like Abe Simpson. I ain't here to fight, so let's no... more + disclosures



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